Have fun - play the Lowenthal Sicilian

The Sicilian Defense is the most popular and fun opening in chess. It leads to exciting positions, never makes you bored and its combative nature attracts millions of chess fans of any level. When top-level grandmasters need to win with Black pieces, they often turn to some variation of the Sicilian.

Also, Sicilian is the best-scoring response after White’s first move 1.e4!

But which line of the Sicilian to choose?

The most popular variations are the Najdorf, the Sveshnikov, and the Dragon. But all of them are deeply analyzed and demand a lot of memorization of precise moves.

There must be an easier way, right?

In the Lowenthal Sicilian, Black trades their dark-squared bishop for a knight and seemingly gives up important squares in the center but in exchange gets quick development and often takes the initiative by pushing …d7-d5 early.

If you are not afraid of endgames, like playing with knights, and enjoy interesting chess then read below about more reasons to try it!

Theoretical introduction

Illustrative game

Kramnik - Vallejo Pons (0-1)

The Kramnik slayer: Fransisco Vallejo Pons of Spain

Lastly, here are five reasons for choosing the Lowenthal in one of your games.

1) It is sound - Lowenthal has been played by many strong players over the years.

2) There is less theory, so you can focus on playing chess instead of memorizing opening moves.

3) It's a fantastic surprise weapon as it is not the most common variation.

4) White is forced to play along - your starting moves are forcing which restricts White’s choice, if your opponent has already chosen the right opening moves.

5) You will learn a lot about playing the Sicilian - including active and attacking positions.